I had the privilege of knowing Dr. Morris Cerillo for 40 years. In my role as a Christian journalist I covered his ministry many times, and he was even on the cover of Charisma magazine once (Oct. 1990). When he passed away on July 10, we immediately reported it on Charisma News but now, a few days later, I wanted to write my own tribute and to record a podcast which you can listen to below.
In addition to writing about him, I was able to get to know him at various leaders' conferences. I met with him several times over the years, seeking his advice or listening to his wisdom. As I say in the podcast, I consider him a great man of God who had an extraordinary ministry, nearly unparalleled in our generation.
Dr. Cerullo, affectionately known as "Papa" to millions across the globe who were touched by his decades of personal ministry, is known for his outreaches to people in more than 400 cities, 150 nations and on 6 continents in over 72 years of ministry.
Dr.Cerullo ministered face to face to more people around the world than perhaps any other person or evangelist in history.
Dr. Cerullo was born in Passaic, New Jersey, and was orphaned at the age of 2. He and his four siblings were placed at the Daughters of Miriam Jewish orphanage in Clifton, New Jersey, where he lived until the age of 15 and where he embraced Jesus as his Messiah.
At the age of 17, he received a scholarship to a Bible college in New York. By age 23, he was holding his first overseas crusade outreach in Greece.
By the 1960s, Dr. Cerullo was conducting mass overseas meetings with hundreds of thousands in attendance in a single service. Miracles would break out as the power of God would sweep over the crowd, and thousands would give their lives to Jesus.
Dr. Cerullo was the host of Victory Today, a daily and weekly television program with a worldwide audience. He authored more than 200 Christian books, unique study Bibles and devotionals.
Besides his mass evangelistic crusades around the world, Dr. Cerullo is probably best known for building God an army through Schools of Ministry he conducted, where he imparted an anointing to Christian ministers and lay leaders to work the works of God and reach their own nations with the Good News of Jesus Christ. He would often tell those in attendance, "God doesn't need a white man from America to come here to reach your nation. God wants to use you!" By the time of his passing, Dr. Cerullo had personally trained more than 5 million Christian ministers face to face.
Millions of people all over the world have been helped by what started as Dr. Cerullo's simple obedience to God and a passion to help those in need.
Known as a Christian statesman, Dr. Cerullo was presented with the key to San Diego and other cities in America and received letters of recognition for the work he did in foreign countries from mayors, presidents and other governmental leaders. Many of today's renowned spiritual leaders considered him a father of the faith.
Dr. Cerullo is also known for his humanitarian support. He has provided aid to Ethiopia, medical assistance in East Africa and helped build multiple orphanages in Mexico. Morris and his wife, Theresa Cerullo, partnered with Tommy and Matthew Barnett to build a floor of the Los Angeles Dream Center that houses 200 women who have come off the streets of Los Angeles, out of drugs, human trafficking and prostitution.
Dr. Cerullo was awarded the Lifetime Global Impact Award at the Empower21 World Conference, a gathering of over 4,000 world ministry leaders and pastors in Jerusalem, Israel.
In 2011, Morris purchased 18 acres in the heart of San Diego, California, where his ministry built a $200 million Morris Cerullo Legacy International Center.
Completed in December 2019, the Legacy Center is open to visitors. The presidential library contains Dr. Cerullo's teaching materials, which are available to visitors. Thousands of people have been drawn deeper into a relationship with God through this legacy of Dr. Cerullo's life and ministry.
Located within the Legacy Center are many inspiring attractions such as the award-winning, interactive world globe and the 4-D motion seat dome theater playing the films Walk Through The Bible and Wings Over Israel. Children discover a world of adventure in The Legends of Lightfall area.
Visitors gain an understanding of faith, culture and the world through the Legacy of Nations, movie galleries, a replica of the catacombs and numerous ancient Bibles and artifacts. All of these movies, exhibits and displays were dear to Dr. Cerullo's heart in his desire to draw others closer to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Few people have put as much effort over such a long period of time into helping those in need as Dr. Cerullo.The fruit of his efforts has circulated the globe and will forever be cherished by the millions of lives he has touched.
Morris was a compassionate, loving, caring man of God.
Dr. Cerullo's life can be summed up in the words of the apostle Paul, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (2 Tim. 4:7).
He is survived by his wife, Theresa (they would have been married 69 years this month); his son and daughter-in-law, David and Barbara Cerullo; daughter, Susan Peterson; and seven grandchildren: Benjamin and Jessica Cerullo, Rebekah and Chip Henderson, Michael Cerullo, Marissa and Jay Deiboldt, Teresa and Mike Mellusi, Joe Cerullo, and Roseanne and Mike Hoerter as well as nine great-grandchildren.
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